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  • Tim Hartman

Have stories, will travel!...and the wonderful coincidences of performing in schools.

Last week was a busy one for me. I had to travel to Eastern Maryland for several performances. I was right next to the Delaware border in Cecil County, Maryland, and then I traveled back to Pittsburgh for some performances at a school in Cecil Township, PA. It turned out that the principle at the Pittsburgh area school had started his career in that same area of Maryland. Freaky.

At the Maryland school, I was performing "Construct-a-tale". I have to pick 6 or 7 children out of the audience to create a family that the main character in the story meets on his travels. I usually pick 3 boys and 3 girls, and 1 teacher, just to make it interesting. I picked two first grade girls out of the audience to play sisters. When I asked them their names, it turned out I had picked two girls with the

exact same name; Allysandra. (Not your everyday sort of name.) The kids were delighted when I acted as if the coincidence was too much for me to handle, and then I began to call the next little boy, who I'd chosen to play their brother, Allysandra as well. The giggling continued unabated. These happy accidents happen all the time, and I love taking advantage of them. It's these common experiences that allow good communication to happen.

Reactions to the shows were the same as well. Here's a little note from one of the teachers at the Pittsburgh area school:

"After teaching for 14 years, and hundreds of school programs, you are truly the best I have ever seen. Our students and staff loved every second of your visit. I was so happy to see how engaged and entertained my whole class was, including several of our autistic students. To see them laugh to the point of tears and grabbing their stomachs from laughing so hard, and then being fully engaged and attentive during the educational, character building parts of your performance was just amazing for me to see. I wish every child could experience your performance." ~Crystal Valancius, teacher at Muse Elementary School

And a note from the Maryland school:

"Thank you so so much for a wonderful in-school field trip. The students had a blast, and having storytelling is a great experience for title-1 students. We were also happy that our friends from the behavior support room also had a great time.....We look forward to working with you again." ~ Megan Bound, First Grade Teacher

If you have a need for an assembly program at your school, I promise you your children will have a great experience, learn something, and laugh their heads off. (Well, their heads won't come all the way off. That would be messy.) My assemblies are reasonably priced, and will engage your children in a way you can't even imagine. Check out the different programs I perform, and give me a call at 412-734-5111, or e-mail me at

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